FLIGHT FROM THE PAST
20 March, 2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rod in action at The Riverton Rendezvous, July 2001. 
Photograph courtesy Jay Hagan.

A Thought for Today

The problem with alcohol is not enough people stuff cotton in their mouths when they use it.

 

Rod is on the road for a couple of weeks and will be back with you at the beginning of September.

SAMMI SMITH

Dear Rod.....I don't have a question.....I'm a country singer, and through some accident of fate we've never met. Today I was going through some books and dragged out all your books from the '70's...It made me remember hoe easy it was to connect with my audience when I was doing your material...which I love. You had a big impact on my career and my own writing and my music. I just wanted to say thank you. Love................Sammi Smith

Dear Sammi, What a nice surprise. The feeling is definitely mutual. I've been a fan of your lovely distinctive voice ever since I first heard it. A note and compliments from you mean more to me than you can imagine. I'm surprised we haven't met and we ought to do something about it. We could start out by writing a song together. (?) Isn't The Net great? Love, Rod

IS THIS AUTHENTIC? 

Dear Rod, A 78-speed acetone recording by you is on sale this week on e-Bay. It is common knowledge that officially released 78 speed recordings were not made of acetone, and you also mentioned that no 78-speed recordings of yours were ever released. So what they are selling on e-Bay is either a highly sought after demo by you, or an illegal copy of a previously released recording.

Three of the rarest acetone recordings in history were by Elvis including one done after he has become famous. Is this recording in the same category? The fact that it was recorded at Western Recorders in Sunset Blvd, Hollywood sounds as though it could be an authentic demo. On the other hand, the two songs, "Head Like A Rock" and "Rock Island Line", were released as a single, and that is making this whole item suspicious, unless this was a demo completely different from the released version. 

The recording artist is listed as "Rod McKuen with Rock Murphy and his Rockets". Did this group also accompanied you on the single that was released, or is this a different recording from the one that was released as a single? Lastly, if this is an authentic demo by you, how many other authentic demos by you are available on acetone recordings? Thanks. Johan
.

Dear Johann, The dub of "Head Like a Rock" & "The Rock Island Line" was taken from the finished master of my first single. It is not a different version from the one released. The dub was probably made for me to take home after the session at Western Records so I'd have a reference copy until the finished 45RPM pressings became available.

Making acetates or tapes for the artist has always been a common courtesy of recording companies. I'm not sure how or when this one made it's way into a private collection. It's collectable, I suppose, only because it was once owned by me. Thanks for asking, Rod

A QUESTION

Dear Rod, Why? Sincerely, Will

Dear Will, Why not? Sincerely, Rod

BEND DOWN & TOUCH ME

I was so thrilled to find your site...have really missed your work over the years. I last spoke to you in England when we saw your show in Birmingham...I was the one who threw the rose onto the stage and you asked me which song I would like you to sing. I chose "Bend Down and Touch Me" I was so thrilled. It was one of the best moments I can recall. I expect you have lots of special moments but that one will always stay with me, thank you. Will you be coming back to England on your next tour ? PLEASE. VGDEX

Dear VG, I love Birmingham and I've always insisted on a concert or two there when ever I tour Great Britain. Even when I wasn't performing I'd travel to Birmingham just to hear your Symphony Orchestra. It's right up there with England's best. Thanks again for the rose.

As to my performing in your country again, read on. Affectionately, Rod 

PLEASE COME TO THE UK

Hi Rod, The U.K. is the ideal place for you to kick-start your live
performances. A few years back there was a resurgence of interest in Tony Bennett. More recently Tom Jones has made a comeback. Currently, Andy Williams is gaining some success following the use of one of his hits in a TV commercial; he even appeared on "Top Of the Pops" the other day. Maybe if you are really desperate for assured success, you should form a boy band with them!

Seriously, the market is crying-out for your type of music and
performances. There is no one doing that these days. We were (and still are) captivated by you in our teenage years and the youngsters of today (who have no idea who you are) will be equally enthralled. Go for it Rod! Alex Butler


Dear Alex, I love your idea of a 'boy band' consisting of Tony, Tom, Andy & Rod. We could call it "Yesterdays Egos." Of course it would call for a brand new song; how about "Jean My Heart's in San Francisco with my Pussycat, So Where Do I Begin."

Yes, the U.K. would be the ideal place to kick off a world tour, but I wouldn't know where to begin to find a British promoter. The ones who used to book me have immigrated to that Great Concert Hall in the Sky. But I can dream and as long as I can, a British tour will be always be at the top of the list. Warmly, Rod

FIRST THE GOOD NEWS

Hi Rod, Have just seen a preview of this Sunday's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" show. My company is putting the local show on the web so I had access to the recording. The good news is, come Sunday we'll have our first South African Millionaire. The bad news is, it wasn't me!!! Blue Skies, Ken.

Dear Ken, Next time. Love, Rod

SONG WITHOUT WORDS

I am speechless at the thought that you will actually read this email. You have been such an inspiration in my short 28 years. My friends' mother use to listen to your albums and we would sit and listen to your beautiful voice, and the words would just fill our hearts and souls. I have since bought many of your books, but have never been able to find your albums. 

I'm happy to read that a few are out there on CD now. My all time favorite poems are Song Without Words and State Beach, but there are so many more. These are the two that touched me the most. Please know you are loved, and have affected many lives. Much joy to you, my friend. Kathryn Lea Hurst Potter


Dear Katheryn, I know it seems like a slow process but we are making more and more things available on CD. In the next few months you should see half a dozen new CD releases and next year at least a dozen more.

Thanks for writing and for your continued interest. Warmest Regards, Rod

THE OLD STUFF

Hi Rod, You have absolutely no idea who I am but as a teenager back in hmmm 1967, I often sat and listened and escaped sitting here listening to many of your albums but my favorite being "The Sea". 

Well, after I was married in 1970 we had a few so called friends over who decided they wanted ALL of my albums I had of yours more then I did. They never admitted it at that time that they did it. And being newly married never had the money to buy all my albums back. 

Is there any place now that sells all of your older stuff? As that was what I so loved. I too suffered deeply from depression by the way. Long story of which I won't bore you with. *S* Can't wait to hear from you. Diana


Dear Diana, Welcome to A Safe Place To Land. Sorry to hear you too had to battle depression, but I'm sure, like many of us, you're better for having fought it and won.

As for a place to find "my older stuff," there's a link on the Home Page to Stanyan By Mail. They have things of mine that even I've forgotten about. LP's, books, songbooks, audiocassettes, CD's and just about anything else you can think of concerning me, my songs or my career. Happy hunting. Warmly, Rod

I THINK OF YOU

Dearest Rod, Just wanted to let you know how much I love this song. The first time I ever heard it was the version by Perry Como. At the time I wasn't even aware that you were the one who wrote the words, but on second thought I might have guessed that it would have been you - that must have been why I instinctively liked it. I now have four versions of it since discovering that you were the pen master of it. I bought the whole collection of Perry Como's songs on CD just to get this song!! Then I bought a Glenn Yarbrough CD and he sang it on one of the tracks. Then I ordered the Petula Clark collection and there it was again! 

Finally got around to putting another of your CD's that I ordered from Dwight "Without a Worry in the World" in the stereo and there it was again!!! Of all the versions I must say that I enjoy yours' the best - somehow that wonderful smoky, dusky voice of yours does it every time!!!! I've always been a sucker for voices. Thanks so much for being you! Judy and the Bears


Dear Judy, Thanks for the kind words. "I Think of You" has a special place in my heart and I like all the various versions of it. Naturally I'm pleased that you like mine best. Warmly, Rod

A BOY NAMED CHARLIE BROWN

I recently purchased the video of the 1969 cartoon A Boy Named Charlie Brown that features songs you wrote for the film. I especially love the title song. I was curious to know whether it was ever published and released on sheet music. I've tried searching on the net and came up with nothing so far. I am a singer starting out so to speak and I'm trying to collect music to put together a repertoire. 

The song is in the style I like to sing. I think it would be a nice tribute to Charles Schultz as well. I would greatly appreciate any information if possible. I go to record shows every now and then and have come across a few of your albums on the Decca label that are out of print. I own one entitled Very Warm and really enjoy the style of the music. Especially Ballad of the Sad Young Men. I would eventually like to find that selection as well. I hope you are doing well at this time and again I appreciate any response you might give me. Thank you. Felipe Echerri


Dear Felipe, The words and music to all the songs from "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" are contained in a Songbook by that name from Stanyan By Mail. 

I hope you do add "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" to your program it would be a nice tribute to the great Charles Schulz. As for "The Ballad of the Sad Young Men," it's a wonderful song by Fran Landsman & Tommy Woolf. It should be available at most sheet music stores.

Good luck on your singing career, Felipe, and all the best, Rod

BLUES

It was Monday ALL day today - I hope its not Monday again tomorrow. Hasta Manana, Ann

Dear Ann, Cheer up. It's Tuesday in Australia. Love, Rod

I love spring and of course I'd love it more without La Nina giving us early, late and false springs. Today, I'm happy to go with the calendar. Sleep warm.

                     
RM 3/19/2000 Previously unpublished

Rod McKuen concert and appearance details can be obtained via the link below.

Concert & Appearance Details

notable birthdays Angela Bassett o Menachem Begin o Bruce Beresford o Ann Blythe o Charles Bukowski o James Cameron o Robert Culp o Betsy von Furstenberg o Frank Gifford o Kathie Lee Gifford o Anita Gillette o Eydie Gorme o Al Hibbler o Ted Hughes o Timothy Hutton o T.E. Lawrence o Ketty Lester o Madonna o George Meany o Lois Nettleton o Julie Newmar o Fess Parker o Carole Shelley o Lesley Ann Warren
Rod's random thoughts I think the older seasons envy spring.

A cloud. No single eagle ever sat upon one, and guns while piercing some have never killed or wounded any. They multiply, divide, and multiply again. I've never seen a cloud destroyed and certain birds are buoyed by them.

Grass continues to reach out for experience, even past its first encounter with the cutter's blade.

SPRING SONG

Don't hurry spring
the wind still trembles
in the empty trees
and dead geraniums stand still
in Spanish Harlem window boxes.
Another week perhaps
when skaters leave the pond.

Now for awhile longer
we can have the park to ourselves.

I need a while more with you just now,
there are some things
I don't yet know.

Do you like the color blue
          do I worry you when I frown
where were you
when I was growing up and needed somebody?

-from "Stanyan Street & Other Sorrows," 1966

 
1966, 1988, 2000, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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